If you dream of tasting the very essence of New Zealand your first stop should be Jeremy Rameka’s Pacifica on Napier’s Marine Parade. What impressed our critics so much that they crowned it Pāmu Best Regional Restaurant for 2019? We asked lead assessor Kerry Tyack and Cuisine editor Kelli Brett.
What does it take to win best regional restaurant?
“You have to be respected for all the right reasons: food, service and provenance as well as the creation of memories. It doesn’t really matter where you are located. But when so much focus is on celebrity and urban dining, it’s incumbent on us to ensure excellence beyond city limits is appropriately recognised.” Kerry
“For me there is no difference in criteria here to Best Restaurant. We are looking for outstanding food and service in a memorable setting that delivers to the core of what the restaurant is and the customer that they want to target. Pacifica could proudly sit alongside our top metropolitan restaurants and go head to head with them. But of course, Jeremy and Natalie have chosen to be in beautiful Hawke’s Bay because this is who they are.” Kelli
What earned Pacifica its three hats?
“Absolute fidelity to a chosen style of cooking and presentation resulting in exceptional cohesion involving all aspects of the dining experience.” Kerry
“That special combination of excellence across all aspects of the dining experience. From the moment you arrive you are special. There is no hovering or fussing, and yet the service is impeccable. Jeremy is a master and has refined his menu to tell a uniquely New Zealand story. There is no tokenism in any dish. Every ingredient has good reason for being on the plate and flavours are pure and honest and so very delicious. Only the most skilled and confident chefs can achieve this.” Kelli
How would you describe the food at Pacifica?
“Pure, unfussy, uncontrived. Some claim to let ingredients speak, Jeremy Rameka excels at making this a reality.” Kerry
“I’m going to refer to the words of one of our most trusted assessors here. ‘A regional restaurant that showcases the very essence of clean, green NZ that people travel usually at least a quarter of the way round the world to experience. The flavours are so pure they are almost transparent.’” Kelli
What is Pacifica contributing to the New Zealand food story?
“We are often asked what is New Zealand’s food story. Rameka has been quietly writing it chapter by chapter over many years proving that simplicity and honesty together with an intimate knowledge of local ingredients is all it takes to create a masterpiece.” Kerry
“Jeremy’s food has been evolving for several years now. Pacifica was named our Restaurant of the Year in 2017 for contributing to the development of a genuine NZ cuisine, drawing on uniquely local ingredients and delivering an unpretentious but exquisite menu. He and Natalie have been quietly working away at this for years, crafting their skills and inspiring a focus on the question of true New Zealand flavour for many of our emerging chefs” Kelli
209 Marine Parade
64 (06) 833-6335